This has been a multi-record-breaking year for Brown County girls golf.
On Sept. 7, Brown County brought down the school’s nine-hole record to 173 in a match against Owen Valley. It was the third time this year the team has broken the record, and it was 16 strokes better than the previous record of 189.
Head coach Brad Baughman said he didn’t know what to expect against Owen Valley, coming off the long Labor Day weekend. He was pleased with the 38 from senior Emma Bawinkel and 39 from sophomore Ashley Masteller but also that none of the team shot over 50 on the course.
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With the team heading into sectionals Monday, Sept. 19, the record score against Owen Valley has been a needed boost. It came immediately after they shot 422 on 18 holes in the Western Indiana Conference Championships.
“That was a little bit frustrating,” Baughman said of the championship. “Not one of the five girls played, I think, to her potential.”
Though both Masteller and Bawinkel made the all-conference team with their 88 and 100 at the championship, it was the first time this season the team had finished over 200 on any nine-hole round, Baughman said.
“WIC was pretty rough,” Masteller said. “It was all mental for me the first day.”
Due to a rain delay, the first nine holes of the championship were played Aug. 27, and the last nine were played Aug. 31.
Even though the second nine at Deer Creek Golf Course is the tougher nine, the Eagles played better the second day than the first, Baughman said.
“I think we came in that second day a lot more relaxed,” Baughman said.
Heading into the first round, the team had been off the course for several days after weather cancellations for both games and practices.
Coming into the second round with a positive attitude made the difference, Masteller said.
It wasn’t a lack of pressure but almost the opposite that senior Tori Akles attributes to her improvement between the two rounds.
She’s the first four-year player in the program’s history.
“We had a good enough standing where if we went out and we did really good, we could pop ourselves up to No. 1,” Akles said. “So I think that drive really had us concentrating and wanting to do our best.”
For the most part, the Eagles’ scores have shown a steady downward march, starting with the Eagles’ first record-setting 191 against Edgewood and Brownstown on Aug. 9. Scores that game ranged from Bawinkel’s 37 to junior Kacee Kleindorfer’s 71.
While Bawinkel and Masteller have stayed consistent leaders — including Bawinkel’s school record 35 — the rest of the team also have shown significant improvement, with Kleindorfer hitting a 50 on Aug. 19 against Indian Creek, and not going over since.
Of course, just because they have done well doesn’t mean the Eagles are satisfied.
Junior Meghan Cassiday started the season with a 67, and has been hovering at 50 or just over. That left her with slightly mixed feelings about Brown County’s 173 win over Owen Valley.
“I was really happy about it, but then I wasn’t,” she said. Cassiday shot a 50, rather than the 48 she was aiming for.
“I feel like I could have done better,” she said.
Leading into sectionals, Cassiday adjusted her sights — lower. She said she wanted to get a 47 in the next match, chipping away at her best from every angle the game provides.
Baughman said he thinks the team as a whole has done well picking up the different phases of the game. With sectional looming, he is realistic about the team’s chances — though he believes both Bawinkel and Masteller have a good chance to advance individually.
“We’re certainly not the favorite, but I think we’re a team that if we play well, we could certainly very well have an impact on the final scoring of that sectional,” he said.
Seniors: Emma Bawinkel, Tori Akles
Juniors: Lauren Burker, Meghan Cassiday, Kacee Kleindorfer, Jessica Taylor
Sophomore: Ashley Masteller
Freshman: Meg Smith